be mother

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Pouring tea is traditionally the mother's role in a family setting.

Verb[edit]

be mother (third-person singular simple present -, present participle being mother, simple past -, past participle been mother)

  1. (idiomatic, UK) To pour out tea for others.
    Ah, here are the cakes and tea; shall I be mother?
    • 2009, Kate Atkinson, When Will There Be Good News?, page 277
      They went to a cafe and had afternoon tea.
      'Shall l be mother?' Marcus said, lifting a utilitarian brown teapot, all cosied up in something that looked like a bobble hat.
    • 2012, Betty Neels, The Final Touch
      'Be mother, will you, Charity? Teile and Letizia have a watered-down version.'
      So they had a pleasant tea, although Charity kept an anxious eye on the clock, keen not to outstay her welcome.

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